This last weekend represented my third recognized event ever, with my last one being almost 4 years ago. Of course this was also Jack’s first recognized show.
Putting that into perspective, I’m pretty fucking thrilled with how it went.
Jack is still figuring things out about travel, making friends (and not becoming obsessed with them), and the show horse life in general. So Friday we packed up and got to the Horse Park, with plenty of time for me to do my first course walk and then get in the saddle for a long hack around the rings followed by a very light (read:12 min) dressage school.
The plan for Saturday was to do a pre-ride (15 min walk and 5-10 min transitions) in the morning and then get ready for my test that afternoon. Unfortunately Jack felt explosive and was screaming profusely, and I decided to let him express some anxiety on the lunge line rather than beneath me. He lunged for 10 minutes and with a much softer eye I got back in the saddle. 15 minutes of walking, and 5 minutes of walk-trot transitions and he went back in his stall for a nap.
We came out for our test about 35 minutes early, and again just spent a long time walking around a quieter part of the warmup, doing transitions between free walk and medium walk to ease his brain. Following our dressage trainer’s plan (which was determined at the schooling dressage show the weekend before), we then did 5 min of easy walk-trot transitions, then a short walk break, then a full walk-trot-canter set that basically continued straight into the dressage ring.
The plan worked perfectly. Jack felt super rideable and attentive, and allowed me to ride him through any tense moments.
Again, pretty effing thrilled with this test. I got my first 8 on rider score, a goal that I’ve been working toward, and Jack really nailed a lot of the things we’ve focused on lately. Considering this horse wouldn’t go down centerline in August, he’s come a long way. We earned a 26.8 for the dressage, putting us in first out of 15 for the day.
Tomorrow, the showjumping update!